Stages 7 & 8
Post date: 06-Sep-2016 04:33:17
Prior to starting out, one of the riders in the group was experiencing electrical issues with his V-Strom and decided to take it to a local Suzuki dealing in Courtenay to a checkup. The remaining three of us decided to push forward and we would meet up later in the day near Gold River.
Stage 7 quickly moved off the main highway onto the private Iron River Rd. We made good time on this road which was in pretty good repair, except for one memorable pothole just after crossing one of the small bridges that caused everyone to slam on the brakes and still hit it pretty hard. Happy that no one bend a rim, we continued on past some cute little lakes and jumped onto Highway 28 which would take us the rest of the way into Gold River. The highway had some minor construction, but the constant and beautiful views to the right were well worth any delays we experienced.
Once we reached Gold River, we met up with our V-Strom friend who received a good bill of health for his bike from the shop and was ready to continue onward. Unfortunately, the rider on the Triumph Tiger was having an issue that needed to be dealt with immediately - his front fork seals were leaking really bad. The brake caliper was covered in oil and the tire was soaked. We tried to use a cut up pop can to dislodge any dirt that might have been causing the leak in the seal, but nothing we did ended up helping. It was a tough call to make, but knowing that Stages 8 & 9 were going to be a challenge, the Triumph Tiger could go no further. We bid our friend farewell and he limped back to Victoria on his own. This wouldn't be the last time we saw him, though...
We continued on to Stage 8 and took things pretty easy after seeing the damage that the Vancouver Island Grand Loop had caused our team already - one bike down and multiple parts damaged on various bikes. Aside from getting a little lost and losing one of the riders
for a few minutes, this stage was fairly easy with a lot of great scenery to take in. Muchalat Lake was especially beautiful, and I expect that Vernon Lake would have been nice too, except that we completely missed the turnoff to Vernon Lake Rd and ended up taking Nimkish all the way to the highway.
We had a late start to the day, and it was getting even later now, so we decided against backcountry camping in Zeballos and grabbed a couple rooms at the motel in Woss for the evening. Happy with our progress for the day, we had no idea what difficulties laid ahead of us on Stage 9.